Sunday, July 01, 2007

World Lit Fun

I'm teaching World Lit I (ancient world lit) this summer, and this semester I decided to focus solely on the epic. It gave me a good reason to teach both the ILIAD and the ODYSSEY in the same semester. I am having so much fun. It's been a while since I read some of these works. This week we're studying Virgil's AENEID. We've already done GILGAMESH, Homer's ILIAD and ODYSSEY, and the BHAGAVAD GITA. We have Virgil, BEOWULF, and PARADISE LOST to go. I'm really excited because I've just bought a video of Benjamin Bagby performing BEOWULF in Old English with an Anglo-Saxon harp. It's as authentic as researchers can get to how the ancient Scops (Anglo-Saxon bards) really performed the epic for audiences in the 10th century. I'm going to make my students watch it. I know that many of them will not even give it a try, but some of them will truly get it - I hope. Here's a clip of Bagby performing:

I know - it's probably not your cup of tea, but I swear, I get goosebumps watching this. And it isn't the best clip because he doesn't sing or use the harp at all here. He performs in America, so I'm hoping he comes close to Oklahoma and I can see it live.

Anyway, the epic genre is one of my favorites - especially Ancient Greek and Roman stories. It's no wonder that I love fantasy/paranormal literature so much - it's all there in these ancient stories. Gods, mortals, fantastic battles, magic... What can I say. Achilles had me from "Son of Atreus, I fear we're being beaten back, forced home, if we aren't all going to be destroyed right here, with war and plague killing off Achaeans." ;-) Even Brad Pitt didn't ruin it for me in TROY.